Ordinance Update Seeks to Increase Composting


The County of San Diego is undertaking the Organic Materials Ordinance Update project to expand and encourage composting activities in the unincorporated area.

The proposed project will amend the text of the County’s existing zoning ordinance, regulatory code, and potentially other parts of the County’s existing regulations to facilitate handling of organic materials in the unincorporated areas of San Diego county. The proposed project will allow by-right composting, streamline small-scale composting, and expand options for medium- and large-scale operations.

Advancing County Sustainability Goals

Organic Materials Ordinance Update

The project will help to achieve the County’s sustainability goals of progressively diverting solid waste from our landfills and achieving an 80% waste diversion by 2030.

The Organic Materials Ordinance Update is part of a Countywide effort to meet solid waste diversion targets pursuant to 2018 Climate Action Plan Measure SW-1.1 and in alignment with programs and policies recommended by the County’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Waste.


CompostingPhoto credit: Solana Center for Environmental Innovation

Farms and residents in San Diego county use composting, a practice that controls the decomposition of organic materials and converts them into soil, fertilizer, mulch, and other beneficial uses on the farm. Organic materials not being composted end up in the County’s landfill where they release methane – a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year horizon. The Organic Materials Ordinance Update aims to facilitate composting practices to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce waste that end up in our landfills.

If this piques your interest, the County’s Department of Public Works has useful information on composting for you.

Community Engagement and Public Outreach

Throughout the development of the Ordinance, County staff will engage residents, farming communities and organizations, agricultural operators, environmental groups, composting advocates, industry groups, and others for feedback and ideas that encourage composting to become a more widely available, sustainable option in the unincorporated area. Virtual public workshops will be held on the following dates to solicit feedback on the project. Visit the project website for more information.

  • Thursday March 11th at 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, March 23rd at 6:00 pm

Get Involved

The Organic Materials Ordinance Update is being developed by the County’s Planning and Development Services and Department of Public Works. To stay up-to-date on the latest information on the development of the Ordinance, as well as opportunities for public input, visit the Organic Materials Ordinance Update webpage.